The best trash compactors of 2020 not only save space when it comes to storing garbage but if disagreements over whose turn it is to take out the trash are frequent in your household, then a trash compactor could be your savior.
The best trash compactors for home use ram force to reduce the volume of your trash and can come as freestanding, under-the-counter, and convertible models. By cutting your waste down to a smaller size, you’ll need far fewer trips to the curbside - and some trash compactors can reduce trash to just a fifth of its original size!
By reducing the volume of waste, you’ll also use fewer trash bags, helping to cut the number that end up in landfill. You will need to buy special trash bags for your compactor, which tend to be a bit more expensive, but they are sturdier in order to withstand the regular compaction without tearing. Some models also have recyclable paper options available.
The best trash compactors can vary widely in price and features. Budget models start at around $700 and utilize relatively simplistic features. The premium models often cost around $1,500 with the higher price tag usually covering a sleeker design and features like odor control. When you’re looking for the best trash compactor for home, how each model looks may be really important to you. Some trash compactors, such as the KitchenAid KTTS505ESS look super stylish and will fit into a modern kitchen nicely, however, you will pay a premium because of that.
Price-wise, the best trash compactors can be quite an investment and, while it varies between model and brand, you can usually expect your compactor to keep on crushing for between seven and ten years. Other than occasional cleaning, trash compactors don’t require any extra maintenance.
Another thing to consider before choosing a new trash compactor is the noise it makes. In our round up of the best trash compactors below, we’ve reviewed each model so that you’ll be able to see which trash compactors work quietly and which ones are a tad noisier, which could be really irritating for some users.
1. KitchenAid KTTS505ESS Trash Compactor: Best trash compactor overall
With high attention to detail, stylish design, and a host of non-essential but nice-to-have features, the KitchenAid Trash Compactor is a premium appliance with the price-tag to match. While some might hesitate at the $1,500 price, if you’ve just splashed out for a nice new kitchen, it could be the finishing touch.
If you select the Solid Pack Control option, this compactor can reduce the volume of your trash by up to 80%, while also keeping bad smells at bay with an odor control system. While the fan from this system can be a little on the loud side sometimes, even with the noise reduction system, the quality of the build and effectiveness of this trash compactor more than makes up for it.
Finished to a high standard, the KitchenAid KTTS505ESS Trash Compactor has a stainless steel finish and features satin textured handles which will look fantastic inside any modern kitchen.
2. Whirlpool GC900QPPB Trash Compactor: Best value trash compactor
Both portable and convertible, the Whirlpool GC900QPPB Trash Compactor is designed to be easily installed wherever it’s needed, whether kitchen, utility room, or garage. It’s about $500 cheaper than the KitchenAid Trash Compactor and includes fewer features as a result, but it still packs in more than other compactors at similar price points.
From hands-free drawer operation, thanks to the touch-toe pedal, and auto anti-jam, the features it includes are useful and more than nice-to-have. The appliance finish is also streamlined and stylish, maybe just a little short of premium-looking. While it can feel a little flimsy in areas, it’s a reliable trash compactor from a well-known brand that performs well and offers plenty of value for money.
3. Gladiator GACP15XXMG Trash Compactor: Best budget trash compactor
While the Gladiator Trash Compactor may be a little on the simple-side features-wise, it can reliably reduce your trash to a quarter of its original volume at a surprisingly low price-point. It’s a freestanding model, complete with casters for ease of movement and a standard one third HP motor. It’s not the most powerful compactor out there and doesn’t have any kind of extra power crush option, so it might struggle with some tougher trash items, but it’s still a reliable option.
It’s also not one of the better-looking options, but if you’re planning on tucking your trash compactor out of sight, that might not matter much to you. It’s also a good option if you’re thinking of trying a trash compactor for the first time, you’ll have an appliance that will do the job without having to splash too much cash.
4. GE UCG1680LSS Trash Compactor: Best trash compactor for easy use
GE is a well-known and highly-regarded brand and this trash compactor is a stylish option with some good features. Design-wise, it’s super streamlined. The sleek finish is complemented by a hidden control panel that sits nicely behind the compactor door. The controls are easy to use and quick operation is a breeze. The noise reduction system is another nice feature that you usually see limited to more premium models, but otherwise, it feels a little short on features.
With a three-to-one compaction ratio, it’s also less powerful than other models in this guide and it can sometimes feel like it just doesn’t crush enough to justify the $1,000 price tag. It can sometimes be on the noisy-side, even with the noise reduction system. It is a reliable option, but the lack of power at this price point is a downside.
- Read our GE UCG1680LSS Trash Compactor review
Things to consider before buying a trash compactor
Before looking at any trash compactors, measure the area you plan to store yours. Most models are of the under-counter variety, although there are freestanding compactors. You can also buy a portable trash compactor you can wheel to messes in your yard, vehicle, garage, or elsewhere, then return to the place you typically keep it.
One important consideration is the compaction ratio. A ratio of four-to-one means the machine can crush the average volume of four bags into the size of one. That means more trash taking up less space. However, it also means the bags are heavier, so you need to consider what you can lift.
Many good-quality models have a toe bar – a switch on the bottom that opens the compactor when you push it with your foot. When you're holding trash to toss, this small feature can make a big difference. It's also great to get a trash compactor that includes an air freshener system or charcoal filter to cut down on odors.
How do you clean a trash compactor?
Cleaning your trash compactor is a good way to keep it odor free. And cleaning it isn’t difficult – just make sure you unplug it before you begin.
First, remove the trash bag and the drawer from the cabinet. Using a vacuum, suck up any loose crumbs or debris in the trash collector. You can then use a mild cleaner and warm water to wipe down the inside, outside, and the drawer. You don’t need to use harsh chemicals. Antibacterial soap or cleaner works well enough. We do recommend wearing protective gloves while cleaning.
Before replacing the drawer and putting in a new trash bag, make sure every part has fully dried. This will cut down on mold and additional unpleasant smells popping up. If your trash compactor cabinet is wood, you can use a wood cleaner or polish on the outside. If it has a metal or stainless steel finish, you can find appliance cleaner at your local grocery store that will help remove fingerprints and other smudges.